I know how to use a camera, I’ve never really touched anything but full manual mode. So why the heck am I doing an unpaid internship with Chris Burkard that required me to move to from Sydney to California?
Because I love photography and I want to learn what it takes to make this passion of mine something I can live off.
When it comes to learning new things there is nothing better than placing yourself on that hard school bench again. Shut your mouth, do what you are told and learn from the experienced and then go out and make your own experiences.
You see, back in 2008 I was 1 of 800 ambitious young guys who signed up to join a special unit in the belgian army. 16 of us completed the training to join the special unit only to be told that once we joined the unit we were nothing but the useless new guys who had just completed the training everyone in the unit had gone through and we had to prove ourselves to be accepted. A very slow and hard process that tested every one of us 16 young guys in many more ways than the training ever did. We had to prove our value and earn and their trust – afteral it was each others lives we had to be able to protect – nothing that one simply assumes someone to be capable of.
One of the reasons for applying for Chris Burkard’s internship program is because I know that Chris is a self taught photographer who has achieved many things through hours and hours of persistent and incredibly hard work. Something I really value and respect very much!
I see this internship with Chris Burkard a little bit in the same way as my time in the army. I spent 8 years learning everything I could about photography, to finally realise that if I want to be a successful photographer, there is a lot more to it than I imagined 8 years ago. I might know how to use my camera and where I want my photography to go, but to become truly successful at what I do it’s a very wise step to accept that I have a long way to go and that there is still a ton to learn from people who are ahead of me and have forged their own path so I can learn how to do so for myself.
To me, this internship is about exactly that.
And yes, I’m doing things I have done before. And yes I’m doing the things every intern does: I empty bins, I clean the studio, I clean the camera equipment, I package parcels, I do coffee runs, I go to the post… but on the other hand, I also get to daily engage with Chris’ fans in fan mail, social media and real life, I get to make image selections for interviews, articles, online galleries, I get to watch him edit photos, pack his gear, listen to him when he is talking to clients, pitching for jobs. I get to learn how he structures his photography I get a first hand look at the other end of his successful business and most importantly I get to learn everything about a photography business that has nothing to do with using a camera. Ok, maybe not everything, but a whole lot more and and a whole lot faster than I would have, if I had stayed at home.
Yes, I gave up a full time product photographer job in Sydney and spent a lot of money getting here and buying a van to live out of but hell am I excited to wake up tomorrow and watch him walk in here and do his job.
And you know what the best of all this is? I don’t even have to pay him!
I will do my best to share my experiences with you all on my blog. I’d like to make this as informative and complete as possible and would love your input on this since it will help me write the stuff you guys are interested in! So please comment below what you’d like to know.
Good article explaining why you are doing what you are doing. Really happy to see you following your chosen path with such determination: Makes a father proud and I know you will succeed. Never give up
i’ll be excited to follow your adventure…i’m on the brink of starting over in life and doing what i love – photography – and need this kind of inspiration! love your “beginner’s mind”
Thanks for your comment. If I were to give you one piece of advice: Just do it!
If you are passionate about it you will find a way to make it work. And finding that way is what it’s all about.
There is no better example than Chris Burkard out there to prove this. Stay tuned for my next blog update about him and his past.
Congrats. Good luck with your adventure..:)
Thank You! It’s already been quite an experience learning from Chris!